Don Corbiell

Meet Your Area Representatives

Bridgitte Carlson Roquet

April 1, 2014

   In The Loop Extended Articles

Don Corbiell
Area 15 Representative
Years coaching: 21
Current Location: San Francisco, CA
Ratings: MFS, MM

Don Corbiell began skating in rural Canada, in an area where highly-qualified coaches were scarce. This could have been a setback in his skating career, but he was a strong enough skater to earn a spot with Ice Capades in the mid 1980s.

He was fortunate to tour with skaters such as Dorothy Hamill, Simone Grigorescu, and others who encouraged him to continue his own training. When he wasn’t on tour, he spent his summer breaks at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. He credits three well-known Broadmoor coaches for helping him become the coach he is today.

Janet Champion helped him master spins. She also helped him develop an upbeat attitude about his participation in the sport, both as a skater and a coach.

“Janet was always so warm and bubbly,” Corbiell said. “She was always smiling, and you could tell she loved what she was doing and that she really cared about her students. She made quite an impact on my teaching style, and I try to pass on that love of skating to my students. After all, the only reason you should skate is because you enjoy it.”

Corbiell started training with Christy Krall as figures faded into skating history and Moves in the Field burst upon the scene. As one of the principal MIF creators, Krall was the ideal coach to work with Corbiell. He appreciated Krall’s no-nonsense, scientific approach to teaching the new discipline. “Christy broke everything down into scientific theory and taught me so much about the physics and mechanics of what we were doing,” he said. “It made so much more sense to understand how and why the moves work, and how that translates into other areas of skating.”

Kathy Casey completed Corbiell’s coaching trifecta, working with him on jumps and helping him learn to “read the ice.”

“Kathy taught me to decipher the blade marks on the ice, and that those small scratches contained as much information about a jump’s execution as hieroglyhpics carved in stone.” Casey also brought an additional perspective and coaching delivery to Corbiell’s lessons – firm but friendly, and just as likely to spend time outside of lessons storytelling as relaying skating information.

Corbiell didn’t choose any of the three as better than the others. In fact, he said each of them complemented the others.

“I’ve tried to bring the best of each of them into my teaching and my approach to my skaters, and I appreciate how each of them helped me become the coach I am today.”

Brigitte Carlson Roquet
Area 11 Representative since May 2012
Coaching since 1997
Current location: Rockford, Illinois
Ratings: MPD, CM, CFS

Brigitte Roquet began skating when she was four and competing when she was five. Her love of skating blossomed quickly into a passion that has changed her whole family’s life. “I begged to go skating and cried when I couldn’t,” Roquet said. “My mom said in her heart she always knew I was going to be a figure skater.”

Roquet’s family recognized early on that she needed more advanced coaching than was available in her home town. This led to training in Janesville, Wis., and in numerous rinks in the Chicago area. It also led her to Debbie Stoery, a coach whose love for and dedication to the sport appeared in almost mythical proportions to the young skater.

“It’s not that she just looked like a figure skating coach or sounded like one. It was more than her education, experience, and organizational skills,” Roquet said. “My figure skating coach was mysterious, and it was obvious that she loved skating. In the mind’s eye of a 7-year-old, I wanted to know all there was to know about Debbie Stoery. And along the way, I learned how to figure skate.”

Under Stoery’s guidance, Roquet practiced figures until they no longer “looked like vegetables,” choreographed programs in her head, and competed and trained across the country. She learned how to conduct herself at competitions, and how to appreciate good jump technique. The foundation for it all, though, was the deep love of skating they both shared.

“No matter how much talent you have, to succeed in skating you must like to work hard,” Roquet said. “You learn to skate by being on the ice and taking lessons. You learn to be a competitor by competing. It takes dedication, time, and money.” But Roquet said there is another element that must be considered: “Do you love skating?”

Roquet has been coaching her own skaters for almost 18 years and has taken them to competitions from coast to coast, with results ranging from Basic Skills champions to National medalists. She said she jumps every jump and spins every spin in her head as she watches her skaters perform.

And yes, she still loves skating, and credits her good start to a great coach. “Debbie’s professionalism and dedication to figure skating, as well as who she is as a person, influenced me in ways I cannot totally explain,” Roquet said. “I hope I can continue the tradition she started with me by instilling some of her love of figure skating in my own students. I hope I have conveyed in this small way my gratitude and heartfelt thanks to my figure skating coach and mentor, Debbie Stoery. May she always know that what she taught me and the example she set is forever appreciated.”